by Sabado Domingo
As the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the road safety charity, Brake, work together to revise the existing learning-to-drive system, a survey has suggested that the task of improving the habits of young drivers may be considerable.
Having questioned 500 people aged between 16 and 21 years of age, the survey revealed a number of uncomfortable truths. Almost one quarter of respondents believe it is perfectly acceptable to drive a motor vehicle after drinking the alcoholic equivalent of one-and-a-half pints of beer, while 9% of males think it permissible to drive after consuming even greater quantities of alcohol.
The survey further revealed that 40% of respondents are content to exceed the speed limit by 10mph in a 30mph zone, believing it not to be a serious concern. Worryingly — yet hardly surprisingly — 58% of respondents accept that young motorists drive more aggressively or dangerously when they are accompanied by young passengers.
The results of the survey are unlikely to shock seasoned motorists who are used to observing the antics of young drivers. Experience and maturity are nurtured by time, so it is unremarkable to note that young drivers tend to lack the knowledge and emotional development necessary to drive safely at all times. The survey does, however, provide another opportunity for policymakers to reflect on motoring laws.
As the ABI and Brake work towards developing the learning-to-drive system in support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, the issue of young driver habits ought to receive a little more attention than it has in the past. There is little doubt that young drivers, particularly males aged between 17 and 21, drive dangerously on occasions.
Of course, not all young drivers think it right to break speeding and drink-driving laws, but the fact remains that a certain group of drivers in the UK cause a substantial percentage of all road traffic accidents. Unfortunately, that group is defined by age.
Hundreds of no win no fee claims might be avoided if young drivers were to receive more guidance on how to cope with the challenges and responsibilities of being on the road. New laws could also help to protect road users by aiming to limit young drivers’ potential to cause harm.
Whiplash claims are the first most popular claim when it comes to motorists.
The ABI’s director of general insurance and health, Nick Starling, said: “The current learning-to-drive regime is failing young people, as there is much more to driving than simply passing the driving test. Too many youngsters get behind the wheel ill-equipped for unsupervised driving.”